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Age of Conan: Unchained Interviews: Exclusive Interview, Part One

By Dana Massey on September 02, 2005

We Kick Off This Two-Parter Today

Conan is one of the biggest untapped licenses in the MMO space. At E3 we saw what the makers of Anarchy Online could do, as they showed off a visually stunning game. Now we start see what is under the hood.

MMORPG.com:For those unfamiliar with Robert E. Howard’s universe, can you tell us a bit about the world and where Age of Conan fits into it?
Terri Perkins:

More than 70 years of achievements take place in the Conan Universe whis has spawned numerous books, comics and movies and I’m not sure I can do it justice here to describe this property in a few words.

For Conan fans, the timeline takes us to beyond “The Hour of the Dragon”. You start out your life as a slave who is picked from the masses living as a Galley Slave during the time when Conan is King of Aquillonia.

The chains binding you, the mysterious tattoo on your chest and your vague memories do nothing to calm you. Battling your way free you find yourself on the “Barachan Isles” to begin your adventure completely alone. As a former slave you realize your predicament, and lack of memory are closely connected with Conan’s kinghood. Your fate and his are intertwined and through your adventures you possibly become his ally, maybe his friend.

It’s a violent universe filled with darkness, sin and adventure. In this cruel world you have a man who stands as an integral part of the world, but who is decidedly different. It’s man versus nature, man versus man, man versus himself. Conan himself is a man that lacks learned civility, but he has character that’s raw, brutal and honest that really strikes a chord within you and you’re able to relate to him I believe. He is essentially dominant by nature and defines barbarian in his own terms. He’s a character simply like no other. A man to be admired, feared and respected all at once. There’s magic and mayhem, lust and greed, power and amazing adventures.

The “Age of Conan” portrays this world and allows players to truly experience how it feels to live in this world void of conscience, rampant with evil and on the verge of utter destruction.. It not only lets you feel this, it becomes a place you can call home and be a noble savage.

Raw and Pure keep coming into mind as terms that describe it.-its base, instinctual and just outright sexy.

MMORPG.com:Graphically, Age of Conan is among the most beautiful games I’ve seen. Can you tell us a bit about what type of computer will be needed to run it and the theory behind your game’s art direction?
Terri Perkins:

We don’t yet know the requirements and recommendations for computers to run Age of Conan, this will take a great deal of testing and we’re just not there quite yet.

Thank you for the nice words about our art! Funcom is truly blessed to have some of the most talented artists in the world and the art is definitely awe inspiring. The theory or goal for our art is to make it look and feel as if you were there. This type of beauty brings forth a magical realism that is stunning. Technology advances coupled with such artistic talent as we have contribute to this. I think that most who have seen portions of Conan at this point state that it’s the most beautiful game they’ve seen.in this genre.. Eye candy doesn’t do it justice..it’s a visual euphoria.

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MMORPG.com:A very interesting note is that your site suggests the game will be rated “M” for mature. Most games in this genre go for the “T” (teen) rating. Why the decision to go for the older audience, and what type of things will be in that game that make you suspect your rating will be higher?
Terri Perkins:

The rating is based on the game, we’re not designing the game to fit a rating..if that makes sense.Conan fans know the world is bloody and know it’s not a safe haven for kiddies.We decided it was best to not try to water down the content to appease the ratings boards as it would just feel wrong to do so. Howard’s world was violent and sinful so the game will be too. We’re not going to add in gratuitious violence for the shock value , but Heads are going to roll and that’s just the way it is by Crom!

MMORPG.com:To begin with, for those unfamiliar with Age of Conan, tell us a bit about the game and what differentiates it from the pack.
Terri Perkins:

  • Combat, combat, combat – real time system, formations, sieges, PvP. Combat like you’ve not seen before! Much more on this in a later question!
  • This is story-driven, solo-centric, character focused gameplay. This will become multiplayer and finally massive multiplayer. The way this is done is incredibly unique and I think it is something that players will truly find meaningful and enjoyable.
  • The setting of Conan sets it apart in the dark, lush, ancient, haunted and lustful world of Robert E. Howard. More than 70 years of novels, comics and other creative material have built a very powerful and unique fantasy setting where gods are crueler, night darker and life much more interesting than what you have encountered before.
  • Graphics and sound that are simply unparalleled. This world will immerse you and awaken your senses in a fantastic way.
Like the traditional MMO fare we’ll offer quests, monsters of every type and shape, an 80-level character development system, item crafting, building of villages and much, much more. So it has the best of what has been done, and some truly unique elements that set it apart from the masses to take “Age of Conan” into a completely new realm. There are elements to Age of Conan that will truly surprise you and I can’t wait until we can reveal more. Gaute Godager and the entire team behind Conan are extremely experienced and this certainly shows in the game.

In a few months you won’t ask what differentiates it from the pack, it will be extremely obvious. Funcom is known for innovation and players won’t be disappointed with what we have up our sleeves for Conan. More sooon . I know..not soon enough. Patience is a virtue Dana!

Thank you to Funcom for this and we look forward to the second half in the coming weeks.

You can leave us your comments here and on their hype meter.

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